Business travel sector steps up government lobbying

The business travel sector is beefing up government lobbying with the creation of an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Business Travel.

The all-party group of MPs – all with an interest and knowledge of business travel – is chaired by former parliamentary under secretary of state for transport Stephen Hammond.

Business Travel Association chief executive Clive Wratten re-iterated a call for urgent government support for the sector as the “lifeblood of the economy” through a range of measures including an extension to the furlough scheme, the temporary suspension of Air Passenger Duty, business rate relief and rapid development and approval of traveller testing.

“The BTA’s role is to grow the profile and importance of business travel in building a strong and sustainable economy, and today is a key step in that journey,” he added.

American Express Global Business Travel chief commercial officer Andrew Crawley stressed the need to move from complete risk avoidance to intelligent risk management, adding: “We believe that bilaterally agreed quarantine exemptions for business travel, booked through a TMC, is a very viable proposition.”

Hammond said: “I look forward to making the case for business travel and making some quick submissions to government to help the industry, as well as formulating longer term policy ideas with the APPG.”

Other industry speakers at the first meeting included BTA chair Suzanne Horner, chief executive of Gray Dawes Global and Thomas Haagensen, group markets director at easyJet.

Demand for business travel, which contributes more than £220 billion to UK GDG in a normal year, is not set to return until 2021, putting 10,000 jobs at risk and threatening the destruction of a sector that will underpin the UK’s economic recovery, according to the BTA.


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